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1 Corinthians 13


 1 Though (1) I speak with the tongues of men and (a) (*) Angels, and have not love, I am as sounding brass, or a (b) tinkling cymbal.


(1) He reasoneth first of Charity, the excellency whereof he first sheweth by this, that without it, all other gifts are as nothing before God which thing he proveth partly by an induction, and partly also by an argument taken of the end, wherefore those gifts are given. For to what purpose are those gifts, but to God's glory, and the profit of the Church as is before proved? So that those gifts without Charity, have no right use.
(a) A very earnest kind of amplifying a matter, as if he said, If there were any tongues of Angels, and I had them, and did not use them to the benefit of my neighbor, it were nothing else but a vain and prattling kind of babbling.

(*) If the Angels had tongues, and I had the use thereof, and did not bestow them to profit my neighbor, it were nothing but vain babling.
(b) That giveth a rude and no certain sound.


 2 And though I had the gift of prophecy, and knew all secrets and all knowledge, yea, if I had (♣) all (c) faith, so that I could remove (*) mountains, and had not love, I were nothing.


(♣) Faith is here taken for the gift of doing miracles, which the wicked may have, as Matthew 7:22; and also for that faith (called historical) which believeth the mighty power of Christ, but cannot apprehend Godís mercy through him; and this devils have, James 2:19; and therefore is separate from charity, but the faith that justifieth in effect cannot, as 1 John 2:9 .

(c) By Faith, he meaneth the gift of doing miracles, and not that faith which justified, which cannot be void of Charity as the other may.

(*) Matthew 17:20; Luke 17:6 .


 3 And though I feed the poor with all my goods, and though I give my body, that I be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.


 4  (2) Love (d) suffereth long, it is bountiful; love envieth not; love doth not boast itself, it is not puffed up,


(2) He describeth the force and nature of charity, partly by a comparison of contraries, and partly by the effects of itself; whereby the Corinthians may understand, both how profitable it is in the Church, and how necessary and also how far they are from it; and therefore how vainly and without cause they are proud.
(d) Word for word, deferreth wrath.


 5 It doth (e) no uncomely thing, it seeketh not her own things, it is not provoked to anger, it thinketh no evil;


(e) It is not insolent, or contumelious.


 6 It rejoiceth not in iniquity, but (f) rejoiceth in the truth;


(f) Rejoice that righteousness in the righteous. For the Hebrews mean by truth, righteousness.


 7 It suffereth all things, it believeth (*) all things, it hopeth all things, it endureth (♣) all things.


(*) Not that it suffereth itself to be abused, but judgeth others by all love and humanity.

(♣) Which may be without offence of Godís word.


 8  (3) Love doeth never fall away, though that prophesyings be abolished, or the tongues cease, or (g) knowledge vanish away.


(3) Again he commendeth the excellency of charity, in that which it shall never be abolished in the Saints, whereas the other gifts which are necessary for the building up of the Church, so long as we live here, shall have no place in the world to come.
(g) The way to get knowledge by prophesying.


 9  (4) For (*) we know (♣) in (h) part, and we (♠) prophesy in part.


(4) The reason: Because we are now in the state, that we have need to learn daily, and therefore we have need of those helps, to wit, of the gift of tongues, and knowledge, and also of them that teach them. But to what purpose serve they then, when we have obtained and gotten the full knowledge of God, which serve now but for them which are imperfect, and go by degrees to perfection?

(*) Knowledge itself shall be perfected in the world to come, and not abolished; but the manner of knowing and teaching shall cease, when we shall be before Godís presence, where we shall neither need schools nor teachers.

(♣) That is, imperfectly.
(h) We learn imperfectly.

(♠) Or, teach.


 10 But when that which is perfect, is come, then that which is in part shall be abolished.


 11  (5) When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.


(5) He setteth forth that which he said, by an excellent similitude, comparing this life to our infancy or childhood, wherein we stagger and stammer rather than speak, and think and understand but childish things, and therefore have need of such things as may form and frame our tongue and mind. But when we become men, to what purpose should we desire that stammering, those childish toys, and such like things, whereby our childhood is framed by little and little?


 12  (6) For (i) now we see (*) through a glass darkly; but then shall we see face to face. Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am (♣) known.


(6) The applying of the similitude of our childhood to this present life, wherein we darkly behold heavenly things, according to the small measure of light which is given to us, through the understanding of tongues, and hearing the teachers and ministers of the Church; of our man's age and strength, to that heavenly and eternal life, wherein when we behold God himself present, and are lightened with his full and perfect light, to what purpose should we desire the voice of man, and those worldly things which are most imperfect? But yet then, shall all the Saints be knit both with God, and between themselves with most fervent love, and therefore charity shall not be abolished, but perfected, although it shall not be sheweth forth and entertained by such manner of duties as peculiarly and only and belong to the infirmity of this life.
(i) All this must be understood by comparison.

(*) The mystery of God.

(♣) Or, taught of God.


 13  (7) And now abideth faith, hope and love, even these three; but the (*) chiefest of these is love.


(7) The conclusion: As if the Apostle should say, Such therefore shall be our condition then; but now we have three things, and they remain sure if we be Christ's as without which true religion cannot consist, to wit, faith, hope, and charity. And among these, charity is the chiefest, because it ceaseth not in the life to come as the rest do, but is perfected and accomplished. For seeing that faith and hope tend to things which are promised, and are to come, when we have presently gotten them, to what purpose would we have faith and hope? But yet there at length shall we truly and perfectly love both God, and one another.

(*) Because it serveth both here and in the life to come; but faith and hope appertaineth only to this life.





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